Back to Basics: Going Vertical

By Melody Mesick


Meet my cabinet. This cabinet was such a problem area because there was so much unused space and it was impossible to see what food items were swimming at the bottom! SO to fix this appalling problem, I applied one of the most basic organizing rules: ALWAYS go vertical!

after_cabinetBy adding these free standing shelves from IKEA to this cabinet space, I tripled the storage space! Look at all that extra room!!

So if you have a big cabinet, shelf or nook that needs some space maximization, here are a few products that can create your very own “before” and “after.”


1. Under Shelf Basket – Tall shelf spaces can leave a huge portion of a cabinet unused! These under-shelf baskets are great for pantries, linen closets, cabinets, etc.


2. Stacking Shelves – Adding some stacking shelving in a large cabinet can help maximize the space if you’re storing smaller items.


3. Stacking Bins - These kinds of stacking bins are great for pantries and under-sink storage. I love that you can stack as tall or short as you need and can see every item inside!


4. Stacking Baskets -  Certain types of baskets and boxes stack so nice and neat. I like these because they’re sturdy and you can see what’s inside. Perfect for any storage space!

What cabinet or shelf are you going vertical in? Share below!

On Your Walls, Off Your Counters

Tricks for clearing

The other day I was sitting with Beth in her office, and she pointed out her handy, dandy wall filers. She mentioned how she always suggested clients to get files off of valuable desk space and up on the wall. That’s when a lightbulb went off! How many items  in my home are taking up prime counter/desktop real-estate unnecessarily?

When I went home, I realized that I have a toaster oven that takes a HUGE amount of space on my counter, but (here’s the kicker) I don’t eat toast! Granted, I can’t very well mount my toaster on the wall (well, not easily at least), but this spurred my interest in what else I can clear away to unveil a clear surface. Here’s what I found!


To start, let’s talk about those wall-mounted filers! Beth collaborated with the lovely, Emily Henderson for this fresh looking office set-up. See how to create your own, HEREhr_shelf-mounted-paper-towel-holder

If your kitchen is feeling a little crammed, consider taking the paper towel roll up off the counter. You can get this under-shelf paper towel hanger HERE.

tr-postal-mur1hIf mail hangs out on your kitchen counter or desk for too long, consider this: The Tri-mail wall organizer.


Installing a few hooks by your front door can do wonders for your surfaces!

Adding a magnetic knife rack is a way to get that knife rack off the counter.

Have you heard the news?? Pegboards are all the rage. Putting fruit baskets on them, now that’s just genius!

5 Things You Need in Your Pantry RIGHT NOW

This cabinet in my kitchen is to the right of my stove. In it, I keep vinegar, oil and cooking spray. There were also some mismatched bowls that I hid because they’re an eyesore and baking supplies. Lately, things were feeling a little crammed so I decided to de-clutter and make new.

1. Food storage containers I picked up a few more storage containers and it’s amazing how much better it looks. Things are easy to find and I can see at a glance what I have. Just make sure to LABEL!!!
2. Shelf Riser I repurposed my shelf riser to store pantry extras and to give the bottom shelf a little more breathing room. I relocated the mismatched bowls to a corner cabinet (which now makes way more sense).
3. Lazy Susan In a small cabinet like this, a lazy susan is magic. MAGIC PEOPLE.
4. Clear Handle Bin This stores my cooking oils which were too tall for the lazy susan and utilized the ‘like with like’ organizing principle. I can pull down the entire container and get out what I need.
5. Label the heck out of EVERYTHING.

5 Household Items that Double as Organizers

By Melody Mesick

Featured Image_repurposed

I am the queen of trying to find second lives for everyday items. When I can repurpose, reuse, recycle, or revive something, I feel like a secret agent that just discovered the kidnapper’s location. Here are 5 items that I personally have repurposed as organizing helpers. The best part? Most people already have ALL FIVE of these in their home. Do you do any of these? Tell us below!!

nonslip hangers

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1. Rubberbands - Those dresses or shirts that just won’t stay on the hanger… They’re constantly falling to their death and end up wrinkled in a ball on the floor of your closet. It drives me crazy!! It’s all because of those slippery hangers.

Sure, you could run out to the store and buy a bunch of non-slip velvet hangers (which are pretty amazing), but if you need an instant fix, add some rubber bands to either side, and you’ve created your very own DIY non-slip hanger.


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2. Extra Pans – I have a whole bunch of pans that I don’t use unless it’s holiday season and I’m feeling all Martha Stewarty. So on the off season, I use my extra loaf pan for grouping small kitchen items together in the pantry. It’s a great way to store them, and I just empty out the contents when I need to use it.

Checks Box

3. Checks Boxes – Whenever I order a new pack of checks, I can’t wait until they arrive! Not because I care to have checks, but because I love the boxes they come in! I know, I know, it’s kind of nerdy to get excited about boxes, but I simply love their organizing capabilities. Take off the lid, flip it over, and you’ve got a handy dandy drawer divider to catch small items like paperclips, pens or post-its.


4. Coffee Beans - Using coffee beans in a vase or glass is a great way to keep those makeup brushes from falling over and getting dirty. So run over to your kitchen, grab your tools and get those brushes spick-and-span!

Keeping cords tidy

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5. Binder Clips - I think I’ve probably spend 1 million hours of my life fishing my phone charger off the ground. Ok, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I’m so glad I figured out that binder clips are a quick fix for keeping them conveniently at your finger tips.

Day 6: 40 Bags in 40 Days


i’m traveling for the next couple of weeks but i don’t plan to let that stop my 40 bags in 40 days challenge! this pic is from my bathroom that is featured in this fun DIY post on magnetizing the medicine cabinet. with medicine cabinets, get rid of anything that is expired, crusty or just plain smells weird.

Going Paperless: A Journey Worth Taking

A guest blog by Bneato team member Lauren Mang.

I’ve been working with Beth at Bneato for a little while now, and have attended not one but three of her No Mess No Stress Paper Bootcamps (I highly recommend you attend one in your area). It was at my first bootcamp that I learned the term ‘paperless.’ Beth had brought her Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500M Document Scanner for Mac to the bootcamp in case anyone wanted to start the process of going paperless by scanning their documents on her super efficient machine (50 pages per minute; front/back and in color). She also brought two shredders so we could walk out without any extra ‘stuff.’

Now, I’ve been pretty organized my whole life, but even I learned my paperwork system was not efficient. Once I streamlined my files, Beth came over to see if I had any questions. She saw I was holding onto a file of documents (which included dog training lessons, tips/tricks and fun facts for dogs). She asked me if I planned to use them and I immediately responded, ‘Well, some day.’ As soon as the words came out I knew I had uttered the dreaded words: ‘some day’ indicates clutter and it is something you should rid yourself of. However, in my case, I was going to use those documents the next time I got a dog, as they had worked so well for my current dog. But I didn’t want to hold on to all that excess paper so Beth said we could scan them and then I could shred them. Immediately, I was hooked.

The next time we had a bootcamp I had just completed a Last Will & Testament which I was then able to scan/shred and even email to my choice of executer. It felt so freeing and was so easy! Since it’s January, I decided it was time to go through my file cabinet – which had been organized only a few months before – and clear out any papers I didn’t need. I shredded statements for my auto lease, credit card statements that were paid off, and my Time Warner statements, among others. It was then that I realized I was holding on to a lot of paper that I didn’t need, but wasn’t necessarily ready to let go of – like my offer letter for my dream job that I landed in 2008, only to get laid off thanks to the recession in 2009. And then, of course, there were the documents that I did need: medical/dental documents, real estate related documents, vet bills/statements, etc. But did I need paper copies of these?

I asked Beth if I could use her scanner once again (I do plan on investing in my own as soon as Staples comes out with a 25% off coupon that will apply), and of course she obliged. She even recommended I read an e-book called Paperless by David Sparks. He recommends the Fujitsu scanner, among others, and gives great tips on how to digitally file your paperless documents. I spent 2 hours scanning documents that I organized into folders on my computer. Naturally, I keep things backed up on three different back up drives (two external and the Time Machine), but I’d rather the files be digital than in paper form. You can also back up to the cloud, or to Dropbox. The next step was shredding all those documents – at least one ream of paper, if not a ream and a half.

During the most recent bootcamp, I caught a tip that Beth had given out many times before, but this time it clicked: instead of saving assembly instructions and product manuals, why not find them online and bookmark them, download a PDF from the manufacturer’s website, or scan any items that you can’t locate online and save to your computer? I had a giant file of these that I didn’t want lying around. Now, I’ll admit, it took several hours to locate information on approximately 25 of my manuals/instructions, and for another handful I had to scan them in myself, but it was worth the time!

About the time I was going through the paperless process (and literally feeling lighter because of it) I was offered a job up in the San Francisco Bay Area which would mean a move north – and a quick one at that. I was so thankful I had already unloaded what would’ve been at least one large box that I would’ve had to schlep to my new digs. And what’s better, the shredded documents have acted as great packing material for my dishes and other fragile items!

Going paperless probably seems like a very daunting and time consuming idea. We tend not to trust technology as it has failed us before, but if we back up, do things right, and invest the time to get our system organized, it will make our lives lighter and easier. Buh-bye files/manuals, I’m living the paperless life now!


Bneato’s Top 10 House Rules

For the full list, click the pic!

If you have ever perused the Bneato Facebook Fan page, you know I’m a big fan of inspirational quotes. There’s just something about a great quote that can give a little incentive, courage and motivation when the tough gets going.

Recently, I decided to create a Bneato Document called ‘Top 10 House Rules.’ I rounded up my all- time-favorite quotes on organizing as a go-to list for your own home.

Here’s a link to the document so that you may print it out if you like and put it on your fridge or the office memo board. I hope it is as much fun to read (and follow) as it was to make!

keeping an orderly home… when there are stairs involved

image; the maisonette

so we moved (halloween was our moved date…. i went as a mover). and we’ve been unpacking boxes ever since. it has only been in this last week that the house feels like it’s slowly coming together—with the arrival of some much needed rugs , wall lighting and a plycraft chair. the couch is getting recovered today and that will be one more thing i can cross of the list (thank god). and while i hadn’t expected it would take this long to get the house to feel like a home, i did know it would be a new challenge living in a house with stairs. the bathroom is upstairs, laundry is downstairs (so you can already see where this is going). and while they can prove taxing, here’s how i deal:

1. doubles. you need doubles. normally, i would say, you don’t need all the extras (and extras of the extras). in a home with stairs, you need them. here are a handful of things i keep doubles of (aka if it’s upstairs, it’s downstairs).

kitty litter & bags (for litter box upstairs)

trash bags, paper towels, cleaning spray, sponges, broom & dust pan



dog beds


2. always have something in your hands this goes for single-level homes as well but i would say should be heeded even more in two-level homes. even it you’re not going downstairs at the moment, if you leave a room, put that item by the top of the stairs so you won’t forget when you eventually make the trek (same thing for when you’re downstairs).

how do you keep your home neat and tidy when there are stairs involved?!

Order in the Linen Closet, Part I

A guest post by Bneato team member Nicole Tenret

When I moved into my fantastic new place a few months ago, I implemented the “shove-everything-in-the-linen-closet-and-be-done” unpacking strategy. In a short amount of time I realized this wasn’t working.

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